Mama guilt. It’s the worst. I’m learning that it takes a significant amount of intentional thinking and some very deliberate actions to reject it.
There are days when I feel this ridiculous guilt – completely misplaced, unconstructive guilt – for things like not going to parks every day or sewing with my five year old or for not doing more messy art and craft activities. Once I allow myself to start travelling down this treacherous path I end up feeling guilty for ‘bigger things’ like not taking our children on extravagant holidays or camping trip and so on.
One of the crazy things is that I inevitably feel this completely unwarranted guilt when I’m over tired, overwhelmed, completely stretched and juggling a million things. Basically when, as a result, I have zero perspective.
So, I’m learning some little things along the way to combat this joy stealing, uncalled for and unwelcome feeling of guilt. Some are practical and some are more to do with perspective.
Turn the chores into play
When I’m feeling too exhausted to go to a park but still need to get basic chores done like the laundry I turn it into some fun. Little Fudge, two years old, loves putting the clothes in the washing machine and pressing the buttons to make it go. Then, her favourite part, is standing on the air conditioner unit which is under the clothes line to peg out some of the laundry. Allowing those few extra minutes to involve her fills her cup, provides some fun real life play and alleviates some of that unwelcome guilt.
Allow extra time
So on those home days where not much is happening allow extra time for things like having a bath. Mix it up and have it in the middle of the day. Add colour to it so it’s a little bit different. Use kitchen utensils that aren’t normally enjoyed in the bath. Basically just making an every day event more fun and interesting.
Be a bit crazy
Again, just turning an everyday event into something a bit silly. Eat lunch under the table. Take a tent and cushions outside for a picnic. Have a water fight with the garden hose.
Go treasure collecting
Go for a walk around the neighbourhood to search out some treasures or pick some flowers. We often come home with flowers, gum nuts, leaves, seed pods, feathers etc.
Stay in your PJs
Stay all cosy and snug in PJs for the day, read stories, play games, eat yummy snacks.
Be kind to yourself
Speak kind, positive words to yourself.
“I am a great mama.”
“I am just the kind of mama my child needs. “
” I am using all my resources (emotional and physical) in the best way I can.”
Saying thank you
Say it out loud or just in your heart – think of three things that you are grateful for.
* So today I am thankful for our home. I’m warm and cosy while it’s raining outside.
* Im thankful for my husband, who despite a chronic illness, tries to be an amazing support in whatever capacity he can. Lately he’s been looking for new boots and a diaper bag online for me.
* I am thankful for my health, despite an ongoing exhaustion, I have good health.
We all need to remember that it’s not about the big, exciting things or filling your days with activity (although these are of course fine!), it’s about those simple things each and every day. It’s about enjoying the little moments. It’s about holding onto true perspectives and hope amidst those rougher days. It’s about consciously and purposefully letting go of that mama guilt that creeps up on us and has absolutely no right to be there.